When the sun finally clears and the weather warms up, few things are better than going camping in Washington. In a state well known for its heavy rainfall, there’s a surprising variety of campgrounds suitable for camping in all seasons, including winter.
Our guide breaks the state down into five regions: Northwest Washington, Olympic Peninsula, Mount Rainer, Eastern Washington, and Southern Washington.
For each region, we give two recommendations for tent camping, two recommendations for RV camping, and one recommendation for free camping.
So, without further ado, here are 25 of the best places to go camping in Washington.
Best Camping in Northwest Washington
Northwest Washington is known for rain – yet it’s exactly this rain that makes it such a beautiful area to explore outdoors. Pair the rich green forests with miles of shoreline and rugged mountains, and it’s easy to see why the Northwest offers some of the best camping in Washington.
There are few better places to camp in Washington than Deception Pass State Park.
The most visited state park in the state, Deception Pass is notable for its easy beach and lake access as well as miles of hiking trails. Check out West Beach Sand Dunes for a short (1.2 mile) hike that’s perfect for the whole family.
The state park offers 167 tent sites and 143 utility spaces spread out over three beautiful campgrounds.
For a unique Washington camping experience, look no further than Moran State Park.
Located on Orcas Island, the largest of the San Juan Islands, a visit to this campground is well worth the ferry ride. Park activities include miles of hiking, biking, and horseback trails as well as quick beach and lake access.
Hike Cascade Falls (3.1 miles) to check out the largest waterfall in the San Juan Islands or hike Mount Constitution (6.7 miles – but also drivable) to check out the view from the archipelago’s tallest mountain.
The state park offers 151 campsites. No utility spaces are available, but the majority of sites are large enough for RVS.
Those that prefer RV camping over tent camping will love Alpine RV Park.
The pet-friendly RV campground is located high on the west side of the beautiful Cascade Mountains. Most people stay here for the easy access to North Cascades National Park, though the views from the campground itself are phenomenal.
Dozens of full-hookup, pull-through sites greet RV campers. There’s also plenty of grassy space for tent camping. A laundry room and a game room are also available.
Another great option for RV camping in Washington is La Conner RV & Camping Resort.
Just minutes from the quaint artistic community of La Conner, this campground is notable for the half-mile of saltwater beachfront it sits on.
111 acres of camping space is available, most set aside for RVs. Free Wi-Fi, a restaurant, and a small store are all available.
Actual free campgrounds are few and far between in Washington.
Though it’s not technically a campground, the area around Little Gee Lake offers free dispersed camping. Camp anywhere in the beautiful Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest for up to 14 days for free.
Remember that dispersed camping means no amenities. There are no bathrooms, showers, or hookups.
Best Camping on Olympic Peninsula
The Olympic Peninsula is one of Washington’s premier outdoor areas.
It’s Olympic National Park receives more than 2,800,000 visitors a year, making it the 7th most popular National Park in the country.
Luckily, there are plenty of amazing campgrounds available for visitors to spread out across.
If it’s easy-access to the coast you’re after, there are few better places for camping in Washington than Kalaloch Campground.
The only campground in Olympic National Park to offer reservations (from June to September), Kalaloch is situated on a high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Nearby Ruby Beach is also well worth a visit. Kalaloch is pet-friendly and perfect for camping with dogs.
Kalaloch Campground has 168 campsites. There are no utilities available, but many spaces accommodate RVs. The nearby Kalaloch Lodge is worth a look from those that prefer staying in a lodge or cabin instead of camping.
Located adjacent to beautiful Lake Crescent, Fairholme Campground is one of the best places to camp in the northern region of the Olympic Peninsula.
Easy access to the lake, plus several campsites along the shoreline, makes Fairholme the ideal choice for those with swimming, fishing, or boating on the mind. The famous Sol Duc Hot Springs are only a hop skip and a jump away for a relaxing soak.
Fairholme Campground has 88 campsites. Although none of them have hookups, most accommodate RVs.
Make the perfect family camping road trip even better by setting up shop at Fort Flagler Historical State Park.
Just minutes from charming downtown Port Townsend, the campground is situated on the northern end of Marrowstone Island. Visit neahFort Flagler, a coastal defense fort built during the 1890s, for a dose of military history to complement the camping experience.
Fort Flagler State Park boats 59 standard sites plus 55 full hook-up spaces. All RV sites have easy access to the beach, making this one of the best places for RV camping in Washington.
Another must for RV campers exploring the Olympic Peninsula is Hobuck Beach Resort.
Located on the Makah Reservation near Neah Bay, the campground is the perfect jumping off point for exploring Shi Shi Beach, the gem of the Olympic Coast, and Cape Flattery, the furthest northwest tip in the contiguous United States.
Hobuck Beach Resort has over 500 tent camping spaces, over 25 cabins, and around a dozen full hook-up RV sites.
One of the most beautiful free campgrounds in Washington is Campbell Tree Grove Campground.
Surrounded by old growth Western hemlocks, Western red cedars, and Douglas firs, this campground is perfect for those that prefer deep woods camping. It’s located right next to the burbling Humptulips River.
31 campsites are available. RVs and trailers up to 16 feet are allowed. There is no potable water, but vault toilets are available.
Best Camping near Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier and surrounding Mount Rainier National Park are two of Washington’s major outdoor attractions during the summer months.
Standing 14,410 feet above sea level, the ancient volcano dominates the landscape. Topped with glaciers year-round, the summer months jolt colorful subalpine wildflower meadows into full bloom.
Explore old growth forests and view wildlife by setting up camp at one of the following campgrounds located near Mount Rainier.
Those set on staying within the national park’s boundaries should look into camping at Cougar Rock Campground.
Located in the southwest corner of the park, this campground is the perfect jumping off point to explore Paradise (the park’s most popular destination). Cougar Rock itself features an excellent lookout point with views of Mount Rainier as well as easy access to the famous Wonderland Trail.
173 campsites are available. No utilities are available, but RVs up to 35 feet and trailers up to 27 feet are allowed. Note that Cougar Rock is one of only two campgrounds within the national park that offer reservations (the other is Ohanapecosh Campground).
Just minutes outside of the national park, La Wis Wis is notable for its location at the confluence of three rivers.
Not only is the campground the perfect jumping off point for exploring Mount Rainier, it’s also one of the best long-term locations for camping in Washington. 15 double sites and an extra spacious group site make it a good choice for large groups.
122 campsites are available. No utilities are available, but one section accommodates RVs and trailers (although roads are narrow, winding, and bordered with tall trees).
Park your RV at Alder Lake Park and explore the beauty of the surrounding area.
Just a short drive from Mount Rainier, the campground and surrounding area offer plenty of recreational opportunities themselves. Swimming, boating, and fishing are all close at hand.
Alder Lake Park has 173 campsites spread out across four campgrounds. 74 have water/electric hookups and 35 have water/electric/sewer hookups.
Another great place for RV camping in Washington, Riffe Lake Campground is just a short drive from Mount Rainier.
In addition to water activities like swimming, boating, and fishing, the Riffe Lake area also features miles of hiking trails. One of the best is Goat Creek which takes you to the beautiful Cathedral Falls.
Approximately two dozen campsites are available, most with full hookups that accommodate any size trailer or RV.
Dispersed camping is available throughout most of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
One of the best free campgrounds for accessing Mount Rainier National Park is Summit Creek Campground (as well as nearby Soda Springs Campground).
Both campgrounds are free for up to 14 days. They’re both rustic without amenities, except vault toilets.
Best Camping in Eastern Washington
A lot of people, especially those from outside the state, tend to overlook Eastern Washington as far as camping goes.
Yet it’s one of the best regions for camping in Washington. The rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains means this region is much drier than Western Washington – some areas are even desert.
Here are some of the best campgrounds for tent camping, RV camping, and free camping in Eastern Washington.
Camping at Lake Chelan each year is a tradition for thousands of families in Washington and beyond.
The state park’s location next to the 50.5-mile lake makes it the perfect location for swimming, boating, fishing, and more. Excellent hiking trails, including the 2.3-mile Little Bear Trail, offer even more ways for families to stay busy.
Lake Chelan State Park offers 109 tent sites, 18 sites with water/electric, and 17 sites with water/electric/sewer.
Camping at Wenatchee Confluence State Park blends the best of both worlds: endless recreational opportunities and beautiful wildlife viewing.
The campground’s central location also makes it easy to access two of Eastern Washington’s best towns: Wenatchee and Bavarian-themed Leavenworth. As the campground’s name implies, it’s situated where the Columbia and Wenatchee rivers meet, meaning swimming, fishing, and boating are close at hand.
8 tent sites and 51 full hook-up utility sites are available. Despite the small number of tent sites, the privacy of each site still makes Wenatchee Confluence State Park one of the best places to camp in Washington.
Washington’s “coulee country” is known for big skies, wide open vistas, dramatic shrub step – and, of course, Steamboat Rock.
Steamboat Rock State Park gives campers easy access to Steamboat Rock, an 800-foot-tall basalt butte that spans 600 acres. The area, referred to locally as “scabland,” is filled with wildlife and wildflowers during the spring.
The campground is home to 136 utility sites, making it the perfect stop for RV campers. An additional 26 tent sites and 3 cabins give you even more camping options.
Though it’s east of the Cascade Mountains, Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is technically more of a central Washington camping location.
Just outside the windy town of Vantage (hence the nearby Wild Horse Wind Farm), the campground is notable for its 27,000 feet of shoreline along the Columbia River and the unique petrified wood along the Gingko Petrified Forest Interpretive Trail.
Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park boasts 50 full hook-up sites. The close proximity to the Gorge Amphitheater makes it very popular during concert season – so check the schedule and book early.
Free camping in Washington just doesn’t get better than Big Meadow Lake Campground.
Tucked away in the Colville National Forest, the campground is especially well known for its ample wildlife viewing opportunities. Private campsites, some with lake views, make for a relaxing weekend in the woods.
17 free campsites are available. They have picnic tables, fire pits, and tent pads. Vault toilets are on site.
Best Camping in Southern Washington
Like Eastern Washington, the outdoor areas of Southern Washington are far less frequently explored than those of Western, especially Northwest, Washington.
Yet that doesn’t mean they’re without their merits. Beautiful campgrounds dot the southern part of the state, extending from Mount Saint Helens to the Columbia River to the Blue Mountains near Walla Walla.
Make Seaquest State Park your tent camping home base for exploring Mount Saint Helens.
Visit the Mount Saint Helens Visitor Center, just across the road from the campground, for ranger talks, interpretive exhibits, and more. The state park is also notable for its lush forests and boardwalk around Silver Lake.
Seaquest State Park has 55 sites for tent camping and 33 sites with full hook-ups for RVs. It also has five yurts for a unique family camping experience.
Camping in Washington isn’t complete without a stop to Beaver Campground, also near Mount Saint Helens.
The relaxing campground is nestled in a deep grove of trees. The quiet campsites are just a few minutes walk from the burbling Wind River. Camp here at the right time of year and you’re in for as much wild blueberry picking as you can handle.
24 campsites are available at this small campground. A group overflow site can accommodate up to 60 more campers.
Those looking for a classic Washington camping experience without leaving their RV should look no further than Fishhook Park.
With lake access to Lake Sacajawea, the campground is best known for its recreational activities. Namely, fishing, swimming, and boating. The area also has some historical significance: Lewis and Clark camped near here in October 1805.
41 campsites are available, all with full hook-ups for RV campers. 11 primitive tent sites are also available.
Just south of the Tri-Cities, and right before crossing into East Oregon, is Plymouth Park.
The popular RV campground is loved for its shoreline location on the Columbia River. In fact, the nearby day-use area is actually on a small island. Swimming, boating, and fishing are all popular activities, as is hunting.
Plymouth Park’s 32 campsites all have electric hook-ups for RV camping.
Free camping opportunities abound in Southern Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest with the Panther Creek area taking the top slot.
Just past the developed Panther Creek Campground (only $18 a night) are a number of dispersed camping areas where you can camp for free. Note that all of these are rustic, without even basic amenities.
Drive up Panther Creek Road and keep your eye open for campsites. The best are the three located right along the creek with water views.
Final Thoughts on Camping in Washington
Are you an experienced Washington camper? Where’s your favorite place for camping in Washington? I’d love to hear your thoughts about camping in my favorite state!
If you liked this post, be sure to check out our guide to 30 of the best places to go camping in Texas.
And be sure to let us know which state you’d like to see us cover next!